Information about Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Department of Insurance is responding to COVID-19 with a series of steps to protect public health and maintain a strong insurance market to serve consumers. We are supporting actions by our state and local public health leaders to mitigate the spread and severity of COVID-19. We hope you find the following information useful.
The Department is maintaining operations to assist consumers.
- If you are experiencing a problem with an insurance matter, please visit our online Consumer Complaint Center to file a complaint.
- General insurance questions and inquiries can be submitted online, using our Contact Us form, or call us at 1-800-927-4357.
The following links provide useful information on current developments of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the California Department of Public Health and other health agencies.
- California Department of Public Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- World Health Organization
All Lines of Insurance
What if I cannot pay my insurance premiums?
Requesting a 60-day grace period to pay insurance premiums - On March 18, 2020, the Department issued a Notice requesting all insurance companies provide their policyholders with at least a 60-day grace period to pay their premiums.
Consumers should contact their insurance company if they need additional time to pay their premium.
Does my health insurance cover COVID-19 testing and treatment?
- Eliminating cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing – On March 5, Governor Gavin Newsom and Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara directed insurance companies to eliminate co-pays, deductibles and other costs related to screening and testing for COVID-19.
Commissioner’s Press Release: March 5, 2020 – Waiver of Cost Sharing for COVID-19 Testing
Commissioner’s Bulletin to Insurers: March 5, 2020: COVID-19 Screening and Testing
As California increases the capacity for testing, consumers should contact their doctor and state and local public health agency for more information. Consumers with concerns or complaints about accessing care for COVID‑19 under their health insurance policy may also contact the Department’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-927-4357 or file a Request for Assistance online.
- Treatment for COVID-19 and related illnesses is covered by health insurance under your plan. Review your plan or contact your insurance company if you have questions about cost-sharing and other charges for in-network or emergency care.
What if I don’t have health insurance?
- Urging uninsured Californians to obtain insurance to protect their health - On March 20, 2020, Commissioner Lara urged uninsured Californians and those who have lost coverage due to COVID-19 to purchase health coverage through Covered California, or through health plans and health insurers offering coverage outside the health insurance benefits exchange, during a new special enrollment period.
Consumers can find out if they are eligible for financial help and see which plans are available in their area by using Covered California’s Shop and Compare Tool and entering their ZIP code, household income, and the ages of those who need coverage. The tool may also help those with no or low income see if they qualify for Medi-Cal. Those interested in learning more about their coverage options can:
Call Covered California at (800) 300-1506.
What else is the Department doing to protect California health consumers?
- Directing health insurance companies to submit emergency plans on prescriptions and health access - On March 18, 2020 Commissioner Lara directed health insurance companies to submit emergency plans detailing how they will ensure continued access to medically necessary health care services for the duration of the declared COVID 19 state of emergency. These include allowing for 90-day prescription drug refills, suspending refill waiting periods for all drug tiers, including specialty drugs, and maximizing telehealth to help health insurance policyholders who are sheltered in place.
What if my driver’s license expires or my registration lapses? How does that affect my auto insurance?
Maintaining auto insurance for those with expired license or registration - On March 16, the Department of Motor Vehicles asked law enforcement to use discretion in enforcement of drivers license and vehicle registrations. On March 18, 2020 Commissioner Lara issued a Notice calling on auto insurers to refrain from using the expiration of policyholders’ drivers licenses or vehicle registration for 60 days to affect a driver’s ability to secure and maintain auto insurance coverage, affect a driver’s eligibility for a Good Driver discount, to determine eligibility for a California Low Cost Automobile policy, or to impact the rates charged to any driver.
What if I have lost my job or am unable to work due to COVID-19?
- Governor Newsom’s March 12 Executive Order spelled out several steps that employees can take if they lose their jobs or are unable to work due to COVID-19. These include disability and unemployment insurance, paid family leave for caregivers, and workers’ compensation if you were exposed to and contracted COVID-19 during the regular course of your work.
- The Governor waived the one-week waiting period for employees who are unemployed or become disabled as a result of COVID-19. Learn more here: https://edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm
Business Interruption Insurance
Does workers’ compensation insurance apply to COVID-19?
- California Governor Gavin Newsom’s March 12 Executive Order states that “if workers are unable to do their usual job because they were exposed to and contracted COVID-19 during the regular course of their work, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.”
- The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency have posted information regarding COVID-19 on their websites, including a chart of available benefits, FAQs, and information regarding available benefits such as disability insurance, paid family leave, and unemployment insurance seen here:
The Department is working with state and local agencies to respond to fraud and ongoing scams. Our Enforcement staff will continue to investigate insurance fraud and work with our law enforcement partners to protect California consumers and businesses. The following websites provide information about Coronavirus scams.
- Federal Trade Commission
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
- Coalition Against Insurance Fraud
Is the Department of Insurance maintaining operations?
In light of Governor Newsom’s Executive Order on March 12 enhancing state and local government’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department has instituted steps to maintain operations while protecting public health.
- Maintaining our fiscal oversight of the insurance industry to ensure rates are non-discriminatory, not excessive, and adequate.
- Ensuring that licensing of agents and brokers continues uninterrupted in order to support small businesses and employment.
- Transitioning public meetings to online and postponing non-essential meetings until at least the end of March in order to ensure government transparency and public health.
What if I need to file a claim with my insurance company?
- While many businesses are affected by COVID-19, including insurance, on March 18, 2020, Commissioner Lara issued a Notice instructing insurance companies to take steps during the crisis necessary to maintain their ability to process and pay insurance claims and provide other required consumer services for insureds in a reasonable and timely manner.
- Anyone who experiences difficulty or a delay in filing a claim should contact the Department of Insurance hotline at 800-927-4357.
- The department has provided guidance to insurance companies on essential business and insurance.